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The Dual Role of Air Conditioning: Taming Heat and Humidity in the South



At Kennedy Air Conditioning, we're well aware of the unique challenges that come with living in the South. If you've spent a summer in Arkansas, you've experienced firsthand the thick, almost tangible, humidity that seems to permeate every inch of the air. Fortunately, the marvel of modern air conditioning offers us a refreshing refuge from the sweltering summer heat. But air conditioners do more than just cool the air. They also play a crucial role in controlling and eliminating excess humidity, contributing to our overall indoor comfort.


Understanding Sensible and Latent Heat


To fully appreciate the capabilities of an air conditioner, it's essential to understand two primary types of heat: sensible heat and latent heat. Sensible heat, as its name suggests, relates to the heat we can sense directly, the temperature we read on the thermostat. It is an indicator of how much cooling is required to lower the temperature to a comfortable level.


On the other hand, latent heat is humidity-based. You might not see it on the thermostat, but you certainly feel it, especially in regions like the southeast where humidity can soar to significant levels in the summertime. It's a less critical factor in southwest areas like Arizona, where the arid climate means minimal humidity and consequently, minimal latent heat to manage.


The Silent Threat: Humidity


While typical thermostats register sensible heat, monitoring latent heat, or humidity, can be more challenging. Have you ever walked into a room where the thermostat read a comfortably cool temperature, but the air felt unpleasantly warm and stuffy? It's a common experience in our Southern summers. That’s because while the thermostat is maintaining an ideal temperature (managing the sensible heat), the humidity levels could be climbing uncomfortably high, adding to the latent heat.


Ideal indoor humidity levels hover between 45-55%. It's advisable to keep it below 60% to ensure a comfortable environment. High humidity can lead to a host of issues, from encouraging mold growth to causing damage to your home and possessions.


When Comfort Is Not Just About Temperature


If you find yourself persistently uncomfortable indoors, even when the thermostat suggests otherwise, it's possible that your home has a humidity problem. The temperature may be at a satisfactory level (indicating that the sensible heat is well-managed), but excessive latent heat could be making your home feel warmer and less comfortable than it should be.


Addressing this kind of issue requires the expertise of an HVAC professional. At Kennedy Air Conditioning, our team is well-equipped to investigate humidity issues and recommend the best course of action. This may range from adjusting your current air conditioning system to be more effective at dehumidification, to introducing a separate dehumidification unit for more targeted humidity control.


Conclusion


Air conditioners are more than just cooling devices. They are an essential tool in managing both temperature and humidity, particularly in the south. If you're experiencing discomfort in your home and suspect that humidity could be the culprit, reach out to our team at Kennedy Air Conditioning. We're here to help ensure your home is not just cool, but also comfortable, with well-managed humidity levels. Because, in the South, we know that comfort is about more than just temperature—it’s about the quality of the air we breathe every day.


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